OH: COTA’s Equitable Fare Policy approved; it’s ‘the right thing to do’

Sept. 30, 2021
The policy includes a new fare structure that will be simpler and correct inequity in transit prices.

The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) Board of Trustees on Sept. 29 approved a new fare structure that creates a simpler system and corrects digital inequity in transit prices.

COTA says the goal of the new policy is to reduce barriers to transit access through fare affordability while creating a more seamless payment experience for customers.

“COTA is updating our fare policy because it is the right thing to do,” said COTA President/CEO Joanna M. Pinkerton. “This new structure makes transit more equitable, accessible and affordable and ensures all customers can take advantage of the best rate available, regardless of their financial situation. I thank the board of trustees for supporting this valuable initiative.”

The new structure either reduces or maintains transit fares for all customers by introducing:

  • Fare capping – ensures customers pay no more than $4.50 a day or $62 per month when they use the new fare management system launching later this fall.
  • Flat fare rate – eliminates the 75-cent upcharge on rush hour lines and makes the standard fare $2 on all lines.
  • Simplified Transfers – allows for two-hour accessibility for any fare paid in place of the one-way restriction.
  • Simplified children discounts – eliminates height specifications for children and allows children under five to board at no cost and children between ages five and 12 to board for $1.

COTA’s customer research data confirms customers who can only afford to pay by the trip are paying more than those who can afford to purchase a monthly pass, which is $62.

The new fare structure will be implemented with the launch of COTA’s new fare management system later in the fall. In December 2020, a contract with Masabi for a new fare payment system was awarded with equitable outcomes included. COTA’s fare management system uses account-based ticketing, which tracks all customers’ payments so that all can benefit from fare capping. The agency says more information about the new fare management system will be announced in the coming weeks.

About the Author

Mass Transit Staff Report

Stories under this byline were produced through a team effort by the editorial staff of Mass Transit. 

To learn more about our team, click here

If you have a story idea, let us know by emailing [email protected]. Please review our contributor guidelines found here